“Body tracking is super tricky because the camera that’s on your face can’t see your legs very well,” Bosworth explained, adding that as Meta tries to make the headset smaller, “it gets even worse, [the cameras] sometimes you can’t even see past the cheek to the upper body.”
Bosworth later explained that Quest 2’s hand and head tracking data can be extrapolated to accurately determine where a person’s torso and arms are; however, the same is not true for legs and feet.
Analysis: Is body tracking coming to Project Cambria?
These observations appear to contradict a leak earlier this month that suggested Full body tracking support has been added to the Meta Software Development Kit (SDK). However, Bosworth referenced this leak in his Q&A, calling it “a little premature… [full body tracking]It’s something we’re always looking at and have in mind for sure.”
As a result, while it seems unlikely the feature is coming to Quest 2, Bosworth’s statements lead us to believe that the next Cambria Project headset can be the device to take advantage of full body tracking.
That’s because, as Bosworth explained, the main problem is the hardware. The Quest 2 and its accessories are not built to accommodate full-body tracking. If Meta wanted to implement this feature, Bosworth believes Meta would have to ditch its inside-out tracking method and borrow cues from headphones that use outside-in tracking.
Essentially, instead of the headset doing all the work, it would need to rely on external cameras to help track users’ movements.
For the Quest 2, a device that has thrived on being cheap and simple to use, adding external cameras to the mix can bring the the incredible growth in popularity of the headset to a stop.
However, a new headset like the Project Cambria – which Meta has already explained is aimed at experienced users who are willing to pay more for a cutting-edge VR performance your Quest devices can’t deliver – could more easily work external camera towers in your design.
Given that the device is due to launch this year, that would also explain why Meta’s VR SDK has been updated with full-body tracking – what’s the point of releasing hardware with amazing new features if there’s no software to take advantage of it?
Unfortunately, for those on a budget, we don’t anticipate that the mission 3 will include the same kind of tracking – unless Meta releases expensive additional accessories – but it might surprise us.
For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what Meta announces when it finally reveals all the features of its Project Cambria headset. However, we wouldn’t be surprised to see fully tracked VR avatars as one of its main selling points.